Although technically it’s always high season in New York City, visitors may want to consider the weather before traveling to the Big Apple. Summers can get extremely hot with temperatures hovering in the 90s and humidity that is, well, unbearable. Winters can be equally daunting with wind chills well below freezing. If you can choose, then visit New York at its best: Spring, when cherry blossoms bloom in Central Park, and Fall, when the Park’s foliage is breathtaking, are really the best times to walk in New York—and yes, you will inevitably be doing a lot of walking. But there is nothing like Christmas in New York, when you can see the tree in Rockefeller Center, take a ride in a horse carriage ride in Central Park, and check out the holiday window displays at Barneys. In summer New York has a special buzz, and visits to sites like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building are far more pleasant than in the cold months. Whenever you visit New York, make sure you pack stylish—but comfortable—shoes!
Few cities compare to the sheer diversity of people, culture, and experiences that New York has to offer. Deciding on what are the best tourist destinations has a lot to do with what kind of tourist you are: a shopper? an artsy? a history buff? or just someone craving the ultimate urban experience? No matter who you are, there are some stops that just have to be made in New York City. First, there are the major landmarks: the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero, the Staten Island Ferry, Central Park, and Times Square. But don’t forget Chinatown, Little Italy, City Hall, Trinity Church, the Brooklyn Bridge, Soho, and Tribeca. And if you can swing it, don’t miss some of New York’s hidden treasures like the Guggenheim Museum, the Cloisters, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Columbus Circle and the AOL Time Warner building, the Plaza Hotel, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, and Harlem.
Travel with Kids
New York can be amazing for kids, but it can also be tricky for kids. One needs to have wits about them to navigate strollers and the like on the subway system. But it’s worth it. In New York, a kid can be a kid. Don’t forget to stop at the world-renowned toy destination FAO Schwartz. Girls especially will love to visit American Girl Place, a super-store and restaurant for lovers of the American Girl dolls and books. If you’re downtown, treat your child to a book at the Scholastic Store. The city offers attractions like the Museum of Natural History where you can spend a “Night at the Museum” , some of the best children’s theatre in the country (check out what’s on at the New Victory Theatre ), the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, the Bronx Zoo, Central Park, and much more. For a kid foodie break, visit Serendipity 3 on 60th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. If you still have a sweet tooth, stop at Dylan’s Candy Bar where kids can fill up on 5,000 different kinds of candy – 300 types in bulk! If you are lucky enough to visit at Thanksgiving, do not miss the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon Inflation. From the late afternoon through around 8pm, visitors can watch the famous floats come to life on 77th & 81st Streets between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue.
New York is all about the subway. You can go uptown to downtown quickly—especially on an express train. Maps and schedules are available through the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) website (mta.info). The New York City Subway is not the easiest system to navigate, so take your time and don’t be afraid to ask someone if you are not sure which side is uptown! Don’t forget that the MTA also operates bus service if you’re not interested in going underground. For those looking to bypass public transportation, cabs are usually easy enough to find. Most New Yorkers flag them down and they take credit cards. Trips to and from the airport have fixed rates—but keep in mind that with the construction of new train lines, getting to JFK and Newark airports is easier than ever. From Penn Station you can jump on a 10-20 minute train ride that will connect you to each airport’s monorail system. Sometimes that can be a much better option than sitting in traffic. There are also a number of car service companies like Carmel that provide more comfortable transportation.
Dream Hotel New York
Housed in an 1895 Beaux Arts building, Dream Hotel is a 220-room, 5-star luxury boutique hotel in the heart of Manhattan. Carnegie Hall, Central Park, the Time Warner Center, and world-class shopping on Madison and Fifth Avenues are all within walking distance. With an intriguing and surreal design, Dream’s luxury accommodations offer a sensory playground for every visitor. Dream Hotel houses a variety of chic dining options, from casual cocktails at Rm. Fifty5 overlooking 55th Street, to gourmet Mediterranean cuisine at Amalia, to the sexy post-dinner refuge D’Or at Amalia, where guests can relax to DJ sounds in sumptuous leather and gold décor. Dream Hotel also offers a unique spa experience at the Chopra Center & Spa designed by the best-selling author and mind-body physician Dr. Deepak Chopra. This unique New York City day spa blends the 5,000-year-old Ayurveda system of ancient Indian healing rituals with a suite of herb-infused spa treatments. For business travelers Dream provides sophisticated meeting services, including a fully equipped screening room.
Filled with artistic inspiration, the Stay Hotel is a 208-room, 5-star, luxury boutique hotel just a stone’s throw from Times Square. From Stay visitors can easily access a range of New York City highlights such as Rockefeller Center, Times Square, Broadway, Central Park and limitless shopping and dining options. Conceptualized by visionary hotelier Vikram Chatwal and executed by designer Steve Lewis, Stay Hotel is a true destination within a destination. Custom designed artwork, whimsical details and warm copper accents showcase the playful, light-hearted side of the Big Apple, while the Aspen Social Club restaurant and venue brings a unique Western twist to this undeniably urban retreat. With accommodations that are anything but commonplace, Stay offers hi-tech amenities with wifi, Skype, and Bluetooth phones; ultimate comfort in 300-thread-count linens and L’Occitane bath products; and exclusive services such as interactive LCD room service consoles and in-room massages.
The Hotel on Rivington
If you are in New York to experience downtown, then the Hotel on Rivington is the right place to stay. This 110-room, 5-star, luxury boutique hotel is set in a modern high-rise on the Lower East Side. Don’t miss the Lower East Side Tenement Museum while you’re here – it’s just three blocks away and offers a unique interpretive experience to learn about New York City’s immigrant history. Not far away in the SoHo district guests will find amazing art galleries, exclusive shopping, and chic dining. Designed by Paris-based designer India Mahdavi, Rivington’s spacious guestrooms have floor-to-ceiling glass walls, Swedish Tempur-Pedic mattresses layered with Italian Frette linens, complimentary wifi, and in-room spa services. Bathrooms feature Italian Bisazza tile floors, Frette bathrobes, and natural products by REN of London. Some rooms include balconies and pets are permitted on designated floors. LevantEast at Thor, the hotel’s restaurant, features a 21-foot glass ceiling with views of historic tenement buildings. The lounge displays paintings of music icons by Alexandra Richards, daughter of the Rolling Stones’s Keith Richards. Several spaces for events are available including the Thor restaurant, the lobby lounge, the conference room, CV dance club, and a variety of penthouses.
Part of the Thompson Group Hotels, the Smyth Hotel is a 100-room, 5-star, luxury boutique hotel located in the vibrant streets of Tribeca. Near the Wall Street Financial District, Smyth Tribeca is within walking distance of the neighborhood’s stylish restaurants and boutiques with easy access to Greenwich Village, Soho, and Chinatown. The hotel is intimate yet hip at the same time, offering first-class accommodations and a range of amenities, including a 24-hour concierge, luxury 400-thread-count linens by Sferra, bathroom products by Kiehls, wifi, and a spacious 24-hour fitness center. Every full-marble bathroom features either an oversized soaking tub or a walk-in rainshower. Room sizes come in Queen, King and King Deluxe variations. On-site at the Smyth is Frederick Lesort’s Plein Sud restaurant serving French-inspired cuisine. The Smyth Lobby Bar is also open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Smyth Hotel is able to accommodate meetings and events upon request.
The intimate, goth-inspired Night Hotel is a 72-room, 5-star, luxury boutique in Midtown West. A lavish and unique hideaway among other New York City hotels, the Night features an enticing blend of the urban and urbane, through a seamless union of old world style and 21st-century comfort. Offering panoramic views of the city, the Night captures the heart of west midtown just a short stroll from Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and fabulous Madison Avenue shopping. Browse world-class exhibits and artwork at the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim. Hike to the top of the Statue of Liberty or marvel at the majestic architecture of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Night offers a variety of accommodations, including full, queen, and king bedrooms equipped with 400-thread-count Frette Italian linens, Bose wave radio, wifi, Torn Ranch gourmet minibar, plush bathrobes, rainfall shower, and Molton Brown bath amenities. Night’s restaurant, Nightlife, draws a chic clientele from all over the city. Relax and unwind amidst a playful blend of minimalism and cafeteria kitsch. Savor a diverse menu of light fare along with exotic cocktails, designer tequilas, and Cherry Truffle martinis. Night is a great place for evening events and private getaways. The 1,600 square-foot penthouse suite features outdoor terraces and panoramic views for a perfect photo shoot or private event location.
Other stylish New York City hotels include the Crosby Street Hotel, an 86-room, 4-star, luxury boutique hotel in SoHo designed by Kit Kempwith. For a perfect Flatiron district location try the Gramercy Park Hotel . To see what Donald Trump’s been up to visit the new Trump SoHo Hotel, a 391-room, 5-star, modern luxury hotel with contemporary modern interiors and furnishings by Fendi Casa.
There is no doubt that New York is a major foodie destination. From contemporary and experimental to the most traditional ethnic cuisines, the city has it all. There are a number of renowned restaurants to visit, from Central Park’s Tavern on the Green to the theatre district’s Sardi’s. For New York visitors looking for unique gastronomic experiences, here are a few of the newer landmarks on the New York foodie trail:
Visitors to New York will appreciate Eataly, the largest artisanal Italian food and wine marketplace in the world. Oscar Farinetti, whose stellar food and wine market opened two years ago in Turin, Italy, collaborated with chefs Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, and Lidia Matticchio Bastianich of Batali-Bastianich (B&B) Hospitality Group to turn a huge (50,000 square foot) Flatiron district space at 200 Fifth Avenue into the city’s culinary mecca. For an intimate and eclectic dining experience visit the Rose Bar and Jade Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel. Enjoy exotic cocktails amidst an incredible collection of extraordinary and ordinary items, including custom-designed furniture by Julian Schnabel and masterworks of the 20th century by artists such as Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Richard Prince, and Damien Hirst. If you’re in New York for Fashion Week, stop at D’Espresso Café at 317 Madison Avenue near Bryant Park. The design firm Nemaworkshop envisioned a book-lined oasis, then turned the whole thing on its side, so that the bookshelves become the floor and ceilings. The book wallpaper is actually tiles printed with sepia-toned photos of bookshelves at a local travel bookstore that ring the room, including the floor, walls and ceiling. For exciting Iberian cuisine served in a sleek and stylish space, try chef George Mendes’s Aldea restaurant at 31 West 17th Street. Named after the the Portuguese word for village, the menu takes inspiration from the Iberian Peninsula and Mendes’s heritage. Enjoy a variety of shellfish, various preparations of salt-cod, or bacalao, rice dishes and Iberian-cured hams. Designed by Stephanie Goto, Aldea’s interior tells a story of the inherent beauty of the countryside of the Iberian Coast and places it within a modern elegant stage. The double height scale of the Gallery invites you into a grand hall with a freestanding bar framed in concrete with illuminated large wood panels and as its back drop. If the elements of the earth define one wall, a long azure wall with wisps of wind and water is your guide to the Dining Room with private niches and views to the exposition kitchen.
New York is a shopping destination, whether you’re looking for the world-famous bargains of outlet malls like Century 21, Woodbury Commons, and Jersey Gardens, or ready to play with the big kids on Madison Avenue and SoHo. This is the home to Fashion Week twice a year and just about every trade show in the business. For one of the biggest department stores in the world, hit Macy’s on 34th Street near the Empire State Building. For the best in luxury items, stop along Madison and Fifth Avenues, where you’ll find luxury department stores like Barney’s New York, Bloomingdales, Bergdoff Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Takashimaya. Major brands also boast large retail destination shopping in the area including Prada, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Timberland, Valentino, Baccarat, Tiffany & Co., and more. Go to SoHo for a walk through loft-lined streets of galleries, boutiques, and restaurants – the neighborhood has corporate stores as well as cutting-edge designers. You will find a quick guide and map at http://nymag.com/images/shopping/nyshops/03/maps/soho.pdf.
There is no shortage of museums in the Big Apple. Here’s a shortlist of what not to miss (if possible!):
Metropolitan Museum of Art
MoMA (Museum of Modern Art)
Museum of Natural History
American Museum of the Moving Image
Asia Society and Museum
Ellis Island Museum
Empire State Building Lobby Gallery
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Guggenheim Museum SoHo
International Center of Photography
Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum
Lower East Side Tenement Museum
El Museo Del Barrio
Museum for African Art
Museum of Chinese in the Americas
Museum of Jewish Heritage
National Design Museum
National Museum of the American Indian
New Museum of Contemporary Art
New York Public Library
PS1 Contemporary Art Center
Rose Center for Earth and Space
Whitney Museum of American Art
New York didn’t get the nickname “the city that never sleeps” for no reason. Nightlife in New York is a no-brainer. The best clubs, the best DJs, and the best venues make New York the best place to party in the world. For the active types, head for Chelsea Piers, which has everything from baseball and ice hockey to rock climbing and yoga. New Yorkers like to bowl – try Bowlmor. If you like theatre, head for the TKTS line in the afternoon to get half-price tickets for the evening’s shows. If you like music, see what’s on at Carnegie Hall or in any number of music venues—for a real treat, check out jazz at the Blue Note. For upscale cocktails, check out the Rye House on 17th Street for 70 varieties of bourbons and whiskeys. For a club scene reminiscent of Berlin be sure to RSVP to BlkMarket Membership (no need to apply). Dance-music spun by quality DJs in custom-lit spaces with a clear sound system that is loud but never piercing lasts well past sunrise in secret locations around the city (blkmarketmembership.com). Check the schedule at the Sullivan Room on Sullivan near 3rd St for house-music devotion through the wee hours. If you’re looking for a place to belong and play, visit the Bell House on 7th Street near Third Avenue in Brooklyn. Set in a transformed strip of warehouses in Gowanus, the Bell House’s performance space rivals the Bowery Ballroom and Music Hall of Williamsburg in both size and ambition.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade; Greenwich Village Halloween Parade; Seasonal lighting at the Empire State Building; Christmas at Rockefeller Center; Macy’s July 4th Fireworks; New Year’s Eve and the ball dropping in Times Square; Summer Street Fairs; Restaurant Weeks in Winter and Summer; United Nations General Assembly; Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy; River to River Festival; Fleet Week; Tribeca Film Festival; Central Park’s SummerStage; Fashion Week; and more!